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Prevent Return of Toenail Fungus: Wash Socks in Very Hot Water

By Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter
 
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hot water washing helps prevent toenail fungus return
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Talking about toenail fungus is not the most exciting topic. However, permanently getting rid of toenail fungus may be something you are struggling with.

You may not have thought of it, but your socks may be the problem.

American Family Physician states that about one-third of skin fungal infections are due to onychomycosis, which is the medical term for nail fungus.

The Free Medical Dictionary says that up to 90 percent of the elderly are affected, men more often than women. Toenails are more affected than fingernails.

Treatment for nail fungus can be challenging. Topical treatments are usually tried first before moving on to oral medications. Oral treatments can have side effects. Sometimes the person has relapses and must be treated again.

Tinea pedis is a common skin fungus that affects the soles of the feet and interdigit areas. It is typically known as athlete’s foot. Medscape states that 70% of the population will be infected with tinea pedis at some time.

While nail fungus is often caused by a different “tinea” such as tinea unguium, American Family physician says that with onychomycosis, “some degree of tinea pedis is almost always present. The infection is usually caused by Trichophyton rubrum, which invades the nail bed and the underside of the nail plate."

Researchers from Israel recently tested to see whether or not laundering socks at high degree water temperatures would kill any fungal spores that may lay dormant in stockings or shoes.

They collected socks from 81 subjects with onychomycosis and tinea pedis. The socks were washed at either 40 degrees Celsius or 60 degree Celsius in a home-type washing machine. The socks were dried at room temperature and fungal cultures were taken from both the heel and toe areas of all the sampled socks, as well as socks used as the control socks.

Socks washed at 40 degrees showed 36 percent positive cultures for fungus. Socks washed at 60 degrees only had 6 percent positive fungal cultures. Trichophyton rubrum, the fungus found in athletes foot, was found in the 40 degree washed socks, but not in the 60 degree washed socks.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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